The following excerpts are from the Summer 1997 DUSTOFFer Newsletter. The complete
newsletter, and all the stories, is mailed to each DUSTOFF Association member. If you are
not a member, become a member now and read the complete, intriguing stories.
Last year was a great year for our DUSTOFF Association, in terms of membership,
activity throughout the year, and a great reunion. The Kelly family made some moving and
heartwarming presentations, adding a very special perspective - and touch - to our
gathering. Your Executive Council met on 3 May, and hopes are high for this year to be
another good one. We continue to search for those members who have not been seen at a
reunion or heard from in many years. Help your board with that search - send us the names
and address of our "wayward friends" and we will contact them. If you have
comments, suggestions, or ideas which might enhance our Association and/or the annual
reunion, please write me at my home address (301 Holly Hill Road, Enterprise, AL 36330) or
e-mail. I assure you your comments will be given
consideration, that I will respond to you, and will discuss any issues at the next
Executive Council meeting. I look forward to serving as your President, and to seeing you
next February. DUSTOFF! Charlie Webb
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 1997 REUNION BANQUET
Colonel Dan Gower's statements: One of our goals this year was to make the Association
more visible in the units, to generate new membership, and to return to the organization
something in the manner of recognition. To that end, we instituted the first award of the
DUSTOFF Rescue of the Year and the DUSTOFF Crewmember of the Year. Nominations were
solicited from the Unit Commanders, and the Executive Council met in November to select
||Our first award is sponsored by United Technologies/Sikorsky Aircraft. The DUSTOFF
Rescue of the Year Award honors the crew or crews who displayed extraordinary skill,
courage, and commitment to the DUSTOFF mission by the saving of a life or lives under
extreme conditions. This year's winner is the 571st Medical Company from the 36th
Evacuation Battalion stationed at For Carson, Colorado.
The intriguing article tells the story of the two crews that participated in this
mission. Crew one was made up of CW2 Mike Hangge, CW2 Bryan Judson, SGT Peter Carroll, and
SPC Robert M. Toussaint. The second crew consisted of CW2 Stuart May, CW2 Scott Henry, SGT
Victor Stickles, and SPC David Scott. The article also tells the story of this year's
recipient of the Outstanding Crewmember of the Year Award, SFC Scott Spiva from the 421st
Medical Evacuation Battalion.
The next speaker was Charles Kelly, Jr. who gave a very stirring talk
about his memories of his father.
DUSTOFF EUROPE PERFORMS FIRST HOIST
|The story of Specialist Chad E. Blair, being lowered by hoist to extract wounded
soldiers in a mine field, was told. Demonstrating heroic courage, Specialist Blair was
repeatedly hoisted into the minefield to assess and treat critically injured tank
crewmembers whose tank was destroyed by a land mine. For his actions, Specialist Blair
received the Soldiers Medal.
FROM THE WIREGRASS
In this article Colonel Randy Sexton brings us up to speed with the efforts to
modernize the air ambulance fleet. He explained Phase II (Integration and Qualification)
for the UH-60Q program.
A new series was started with the biography of Colonel Charles L. Webb, the DUSTOFF
Association's President. The riveting story follows him from the time he entered the Army
in Dec 56 as a draftee, commissioning in the Infantry, branch transfer to Medical Service
Corps, through his career-long achievements, to his retirement in Jul 90.
||In this continuing column, the extract of CW2 Merle Snyder's Silver Star was shows. He received the award for
gallantry in action on 11 May 1969 in the Republic of Vietnam. CW2 Snyder received an
urgent request for extraction of the crew of an observation helicopter downed by enemy
fire near Long Binh. Arriving over the area, gunships strafing the jungle around the
crashed helicopter were drawing heavy ground fire.
It became apparent to CW2 Snyder that the hostile resistance would not be quickly
suppressed and that further delaying an extraction attempt would endanger the lives of the
crash victims. With gunships providing covering fire, he then made a high speed approach
at low altitude, dipping the evacuation helicopter down into a cramped jungle clearing
near the wreckage. Enemy fire ripped through the emergency landing zone as CW2 Snyder
waited while the crew loaded the sole survivor. Upon liftoff, the hostile fire gained in
intensity, hitting the evacuation helicopter, but he skillfully maneuvered the craft out
of the fire-swept jungle clearing and delivered the wounded man to a medical facility.
|In addition, (then) WO1 Robert Romines' Distinguished Flying Cross citation was reproduced. He
was awarded the DFC on 1 Feb 69 for exceptionally valorous actions while providing support
for the 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry, elements of which were encircled by a North
Vietnamese company. Enemy fire from a bunker at the edge of a wood line raked the area so
heavily that casualties could not be moved back for evacuation. Twice WO1 Romines landed
his helicopter within 75 meters of the hostile fortification. Despite several direct hits
to his aircraft, he and his crew successfully evacuated the wounded personnel and flew
them to the hospital for treatment.
If you are not a member, become a member now and read the whole newsletter and the other
articles on locating DUSTOFF films in the National Archives, completion of a DUSTOFF documentary
by Wingspan Network, and other exciting articles.